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Bladder stones, also known as vesical calculus, are crystalized minerals that form in the bladder when urine is not completely emptied. These stones will often pass when they are very are very small in size, but can also get stuck to the walls of the bladder or ureter, gradually collect mineral crystals, and grow in size. As they do, they can cause a patient to have problems with urination, as well as a great deal or pain and discomfort.
Bladder stones can either form in the kidneys or ureter and travel to the bladder, or form in the bladder itself. In the latter case, stones usually develop when the bladder does not completely empty urine. If urine sits in the bladder for a long enough time, minerals in the urine start to crystalize and develop into bladder stones.
Other possible causes of bladder stones include recurrent inflammation of the urinary tract and a diet high in foods that cause stones (e.g. asparagus, certain leafy vegetables, and offal), as well as not drinking enough water.
Bladder stones are much more common in men than in women. This is because the male urinary tract is longer than the female urinary tract, which means urinary sediment can remain in the urinary tract more easily.
Symptoms commonly include:
Treatment methods for bladder stones are divided into 2 main procedures:
1. Bladder Stone Removal – In the case of very small stones, the doctor may start by having the patient drink plenty of water, so stones can be passed naturally. However, drinking water does not suffice, the removal of stones may be carried out by one of the three following procedures:
2. Treating the cause of the stones – this is necessary, as removal of the stones without correcting the root cause may result in a recurrence.